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Dem Group Files Ethics Complaint Against Sarah Huckabee Sanders For Calling On ESPN To Fire Jemele Hill
New York, NY - The Democratic Coalition announced today that it has filed an ethics complaint against White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders with the Office of Government Ethics for her comments calling on ESPN host Jemele Hill to be fired.
The group cited Sanders' possible violation of federal law which makes it a crime for a government employee to influence "a private entity's employment . . . solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation."
"When Sarah Huckabee Sanders called for Jemele Hill to be fired by ESPN, she crossed the line and put herself in dubious legal territory," said Jon Cooper, chairman of the Democratic Coalition. "Even in Donald Trump's America, there's still such a thing as freedom of speech. For Sanders to publicly call for the dismissal of a Trump critic is bizarre and disturbing, to say the least. If anyone is to be fired, it should be her."
Sanders' comments came shortly after Hill called President Donald Trump a "white supremacist" in a tweet, saying during a press briefing on Wednesday that it was a "fireable offense."
18 U.S. Code § 227 makes it a federal crime - punishable by a fine or up to 15 years in prison - for an employee in Sanders' role to influence or threaten to influence a private employment decision. On Wednesday, Sanders said, "That's one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN."
"This is yet another example of the Trump White House's blatant disregard for the Constitution and its authoritarian efforts to quiet dissenters. It is of the utmost importance that we hold the Trump administration accountable for this illicit behavior and protect our democratic institutions," added Nate Lerner, the group's executive director.
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Posted on May 13, 2021